Ben Foster Took PEDs To Prepare For Lance Armstrong Biopic

By McCarton Ackerman 10/15/15

The actor said the drugs "definitely damaged" his body.

Ben Foster
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Starring in the new film The Program, actor Ben Foster not only looks just like disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong, but he also revealed that he went to extreme lengths in researching the role by taking some of the same performance-enhancing drugs.

The actor said he took the substances before filming began "in a contained, doctor-supervised manner to better understand why they took drugs.” Although he wouldn’t reveal which substances he used or how long he took them for, Foster said he experienced “tremendous” side effects from them and that the drugs “definitely damaged” his body.

"Go faster, go longer, go stronger. That's why you take them ... but they can also damage the body long-term and in very serious ways,” said Foster to the BBC. "I had a great doctor which helped me handle some of those consequences. But it took about half a year to get my levels right and I would say for any athlete, you have to ask, 'Where are your values?'”

The Program director Stephen Frears said Foster’s PED use was not a requirement for the film and that he was only informed of it two weeks ago.

Armstrong’s former physician, Dr. Michele Ferrari, has filed a lawsuit to halt distribution of the movie in her native Italy and is also seeking unspecified damages. Ferrari is played by French actor Guillaume Canet in the film and is shown giving Armstrong PEDs, but lawyers for Ferrari say she never administered banned substance to him. Armstrong previously revealed that Ferrari was his trainer until 2004.

Armstrong was last seen publicly in July when he rode at a charity event for the Tour de France, despite top cyclists in the sport calling the appearance “disrespectful” and asking him to not participate.

The Program chronicles his rise to becoming a seven-time Tour de France champion and ultimate fall when he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. The movie hits theaters on October 16.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.